American conductor Adam Turner is quickly gaining momentum as a conductor to watch on international opera stages. Currently serving as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor at Virginia Opera, Maestro Turner garners critical acclaim for the breadth of his repertoire, artistic vision, and polished technique. Of his recent performance of Sweeney Todd with Virginia Opera, Opera News hailed: “Adam Turner conducted a stylish account of the score, drawing impressively nuanced playing from the Virginia Symphony every step of the way.” Continuing in his post at Virginia Opera, Maestro Turner will conduct performances of Der Freischütz and a double bill of The Seven Deadly Sins/Pagliacci this season. He will also conduct a workshop of The Halloween Tree with American Lyric Theater, Three Decembers with Hawaii Opera Theatre, a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program Holiday Concert with Washington National Opera, and Carmen with Central City Opera.
Last season, Mr. Turner conducted La bohème, Roméo et Juliette and Der fliegende Holländer at Virginia Opera, Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera Baltimore, and collaborated with renowned conductor John DeMain on Washington National Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s final stage composition Lost in the Stars. Additionally, The Kurt Weill Foundation named Maestro Turner the inaugural recipient of the Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellowship in 2015.
In recent years, Turner earned a reputation for being a champion of new works. He conducted the workshop of Biennale: A Comic Opera by composer Paul Richards and librettist Wendy Steiner, assisted in the world-première of Ricky Ian Gordon’s American Civil War-inspired musical theatre masterpiece Rappahannock County (subsequently released on the Naxos label), and assisted composer David Carlson in Florida Grand Opera’s world-première production of Anna Karenina.
Other recent guest conducting engagements include: Sweeney Todd at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Eugene Opera; Le nozze di Figaro, Dead Man Walking, Carmen, La bohème, Man of La Mancha and Oklahoma! with Central City Opera; Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Britten’s biblically inspired Noye’s Fludde during his tenure as Resident Conductor at Ash Lawn Opera; and H.M.S. Pinafore, Carmen, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Mikado, Carousel, and Camelot for Virginia Opera.
During regular appearances with Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony, Mr. Turner conducted Young People’s Concerts and additional outreach activities. His leadership of Virginia Opera’s annual “Opera in the Park” series, featuring both of the aforementioned orchestras in their respective communities, reaches nearly 10,000 attendees across the Commonwealth of Virginia with a program of opera and popular hits, ensuring the next generation of prospective opera lovers, and bridging the gap between popular and classical music genres. He appeared in concert with singer-songwriter Ben Folds, conducting “The Orchestra Experience” during a recent tour stop in Virginia Beach. Additionally, Maestro Turner conducted at the David Oistrakh Festival in Estonia, featuring appearances with the St. Petersburg Festival Orchestra, Pärnu City Orchestra, and the Kaiserslautern Symphony Orchestra.
Turner first gained recognition at age 25 during his tenure at Stadttheater Pforzheim in Germany while taking over conducting responsibilities of a production of Les Misérables. Musicals – Das Musicalmagazin, Germany’s premier musical theater publication lauded his work: “Les Mis reveals even here its magical effectiveness… The main reason for this is the performance of the orchestra, led by a young American conductor, Adam Turner, who brings to the piece a suspenseful drama that one does not always hear, even on the legendary, anniversary recording at the Royal Albert Hall. During the dramatic dialogues, he pushes the action forward but one is nonetheless able to understand every single word…he builds up the aria-like solos with great crescendos yet purposefully does not turn the first Thénardier-Song into a homely operetta number…” There, he also conducted Lehár’s Paganini and Cole Porter’s High Society.
Prior to his appointment as the youngest administrator in Virginia Opera’s history, Turner proved he has a vision for the future of the industry as a member of the next generation of leaders while holding several administrative and music staff appointments at houses across the country including Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Portland Opera, Tulsa Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera. In these positions, Turner worked side-by-side with world-renowned maestri including Asher Fisch, Steuart Bedford, John DeMain, Gary Thor Wedow, and Broadway veteran Rob Fisher.
Turner holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Morehead State University, and a Master of Music degree from The Catholic University of America. He furthered his training with internationally acclaimed conductors and pedagogues Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Marin Alsop, Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, and Kenneth Kiesler.